Aaron James
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Aaron James

Memphis, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Memphis, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Folk Indie

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"Aaron James - Here Comes the Rain"

Aaron James

Here Comes The Rain
self-released; 2016

3.8 out of 5

By William Morrow

Living about five minutes away from the University of Memphis, I’m fully aware of the seemingly unlimited amount of talent that spills out from their music and production schools, so when I saw that Aaron James, who just released his debut EP titled Here Comes The Rain, studies there, my expectations immediately arose. To be honest, I was not at all underwhelmed or disappointed by this EP, and it’s safe to say it lived up to my expectations. This wonderfully produced EP offers its listeners a complete emotional evolution over the course of just four songs through sentimentally provocative lyrics, dissonant soundscapes and melancholy yet tuneful melodies.

I really enjoyed the way that James blends the simple sound of an acoustic guitar with technologically rich soundscapes. Oftentimes serving as the warm center of the music, the acoustic guitar allows for more spacey and ambient textures to surround it, creating a fuller and more complex sound. “No One Knows,” my personal favorite and second song of the EP, is a really good example of this. Along with a lot of my favorite albums, I noticed that this EP thrives in the details. For example, throughout the EP, the reverb added to the vocals was consistently terrific, and I found that to add a lot to the overall sound experience. While on the topic of production, I think it’s important to note that it only adds to the music, really allowing the listeners to experience the music in its fullest.

I’m oftentimes pretty skeptical in regards to the notion of a “concept album,” but I think that the EP does what it sets out to do pretty well. James states that Here Comes the Rain is“a love story told over the course of a year with each song representing a season of the year and a different stage of love,” and, entering the EP with this in mind, I think that it’s pretty clear the season that each song represents and how the emotions conveyed in those songs consequently represent the aura of each of those seasons. Citing inspirations such as Bon Iver and Iron and Wine, the theme behind this release falls right in line. James certainly captures the emotionally resonating nature of his influences, exhibited in the dynamic nature of songs like “The Space Between” with its dramatic and powerful crescendo toward the end along with its personal and intimate lyrics.

​Not only would I consider this to be a strong debut release, I would consider this to be a strong release in general. It is of professional sound quality and production, the music and lyrics are well-written, and the attention to detail is present. Hopefully I will be able to see James play sometime in Memphis this year. - No More Division


"Music Review: Aaron James “Here Comes the Rain” EP"

You might not have heard of Aaron James before, but if you’ve spent any time immersing yourself in the Memphis music scene, you’ve likely seen or heard his work. Aaron James has trail-blazed his way into nearly every musical project that’s been coming through the pipes at the University of Memphis for the past 3 years since moving here from Elizabethtown, PA to study recording technology. From backing various musical acts on his guitar (Sleepwlkrs, Sound Fuzion) to tracking guitar in the studio for artists like Mary Owens and Lauren Moscato, this guitar-slinger has quickly culminated an impressive amount of credentials and is finally breaking into to the solo side of the industry with his debut EP Here Comes the Rain.

It’s no surprise that a versatile musician like Aaron James would be capable of quality songwriting. Drawing folk and indie inspirations from artists like The Fleet Foxes and Ben Howard, Here Comes the Rain shows Aaron James’ true colors and passion for indie music, a genre that – until now – I haven’t heard him do.

The opening track, “Go Tell Maria” joyously displays James’ affinity for indie folk rock with a bridge I can only compare to something off of Iron & Wine’s Kiss Each Other Clean album due to its funky bass line, mid-tempo beats, and colorful woodblock percussion. I wouldn’t say the lyrics dull in comparison to the musical composition of this track, however it can be assumed that James’ style of writing falls more within the abstract and will require some analysis in order to relate.

Musically, “No One Knows” stood out to me among the other tracks due to its soaring guitar bends, soft freight-train rhythm, and sweeping guitar picking which relate it more to a country midwestern than indie folk. Proceeding it is the single “The Space Between” which begins relatively simple in composition but grows as the track progresses (as shown in the music video below). Arpeggiated acoustic guitar with the addition of bell-like keyboard effects and built-out vocal harmonies that simulate echoes is the musical combination that makes this track shine above the others. However, the title track “Here Comes the Rain,” might be an equal contender for the best song on the EP. Ending on a more introspective note, James’ paints a narrative of heartbreak and forlorn with the occasional tone of optimism in lyrics like

“Oh what a year it has been by your side
The warm turned to cold and the roses and thorns all died
But deep in the field where the sunflowers still grow
Where happiness looms in the breeze, that’s where I’ll go”

If you couldn’t tell by that verse, this is a song that’s half hopeful, half you-will-get-snot-and-tears-all-over-your-steering-wheel and sounds like something from a Mazzy Star record, so load up on tissues and ice cream before this one, folks.

It’s not always easy for someone who has spent a large part of their life playing in the shadows of others, but Here Comes the Rain proves that Aaron James is worthy of standing on his own as an independent artist. As a breakout debut EP, its a testament to his talent as not only a songwriter but also as a soloist. To learn more about Aaron James, visit his website and definitely check out his video for “The Space Between” below. - APULPFACTION


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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